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Firefighters With Temporary and Total Disabilities

Chicago Lawyers for Helping Injured First Responders

Firefighters place themselves at risk every day on the job. While fighting fires and responding to other crises, they can sustain broken bones, herniated or ruptured discs, burns, concussions, brain injuries, lacerations, scars, and crushing injuries. By law, Chicago firefighters cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits except for disfigurement arising out of burns they sustained on the job. However, in the event of work injuries, Illinois firefighters in smaller cities and towns outside of Chicago are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, such as temporary and total disability benefits. Firefighters with temporary and total disabilities should discuss their situation with the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.

Firefighters with Temporary and Total Disabilities

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act establishes the state workers’ compensation system. Under this law, firefighters cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits if they work for a city with more than 500,000 people. So, while Chicago firefighters are excluded from this system because of its population, those that work for a different municipality may be eligible. Workers’ compensation benefits can include temporary total disability pay, reasonable and necessary medical care, and vocational rehabilitation.

Firefighters who are unable to work as the result of a work-related accident or condition may need to take time off to recover. During this time off, you may be eligible for temporary and total disability benefits. In some cases, a treating physician may limit you to part-time or light-duty work in light of your injury. If your employer has no work that would accommodate your partial disability, you may still receive temporary total disability benefits.

You can start receiving temporary total disability benefits only after you’ve been unable to work for three days due to a work-related injury. If you’re unable to work for fourteen days or longer, you will be retroactively paid temporary total disability benefits for the first three days you missed work.

Calculating Temporary Total Disability Benefits

Temporary total disability benefits are calculated at a rate of 2/3 your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks directly before the injury. Depending on your regular pay schedule, these benefits may be paid in weekly or biweekly intervals.

Your average weekly wage is subject to maximums and minimums that are adjusted routinely. Usually bonuses and overtime are excluded when calculating a firefighter’s average weekly wage. However, if the overtime was part of your regular employment hours or you worked a fixed number of overtime hours every week for the prior 52 weeks, the calculation of your average weekly wage could include overtime. In some cases, insurers or employers miscalculate an employee’s average weekly wage and do not pay the full benefits to which the employee is entitled. An experienced lawyer can help you calculate your average weekly wage to make sure you are receiving your full benefits.

Firefighters who are able to perform light duty work may still be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits if their reduced work or hours results in a loss of pay.

Those who are still getting treatment for your injuries should be able to continue receiving disability benefits. Additionally, under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, medical care you reasonably need, such as emergency care, check-ups, follow-ups, surgery and rehabilitation, can be compensated.

Maximum Medical Improvement

Firefighters who are left permanently disabled at the point of maximum medical improvement may be able to obtain permanent total disability benefits or permanent partial disability benefits. Maximum medical improvement is the point beyond which the doctor believes no further improvement is possible.

Retain a Seasoned Chicago Attorney

Firefighting is a dangerous job. Work-related injuries can leave a firefighter incapacitated, either briefly or for a long duration. Firefighters with temporary and total disabilities should discuss their legal options with the experienced Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We handle the claims of injured firefighters in Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and Rockford. We also represent injured firefighters in Kane, Cook, Winnebago, Adams, and Sangamon Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.